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Program Business Plan Tip: Writing the executive summary

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The executive summary is one of the most valuable portions of your program business plan--and the finished product is as valuable as the writing process. Because it is brief, it pushes each program team to describe what you do succinctly. It's an exercise in prioritizing. The finished product can be infinitely helpful in communicating what you do to ourselves, our audiences, and our authorizers.

  • It helps to write the summary last, when your plan is nearly finished.

  • Sit down with your plan and a highlighter. Find phrases that support your core goals and strategies, and pull those into your summary.

  • Include who, what, when, where, why, and how.

  • Keep it as a true summary and focused on the big picture.

  • Run it by someone with little or no background knowledge of your program to see if they understand what you do based only on the executive summary.

-Maggie Frazier, editor

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